Boulder Brands, Inc. has issued a recall of all boxes of its Earth Balance brand vegan macaroni and cheese because the product could potentially contain undeclared dairy. The product is available in two varieties: Vegan White Cheddar Mac & Cheese and Vegan Cheddar Mac & Cheese. Both varieties have been recalled. The recall includes all boxes set to expire in 2017.
Consumer have many different reasons for choosing vegan food. Some opt to live a vegan lifestyle due to their personal ethics, feeling that it is unethical to consume animal products. Others choose vegan food because of a dairy allergy – seeing the word “vegan” on a package should, ideally, be an easy shorthand for an individual seeking food products that do not contain any dairy or other animal derivatives. Others, still, choose vegan as a way of reducing their impact on the environment. To help consumers make informed choices and avoid products that could potentially cause them to become ill, food manufacturers are required to label their products’ ingredients and whether they contain any known allergens. An allergic reaction can be similar to an illness resulting from food poisoning.
Dairy as an Allergen
Food allergies can potentially be fatal. In contrast, food intolerances make it difficult for an individual to digest a specific type of food. For this reason, many individuals with dairy intolerances, such as lactose intolerance, avoid products that contain dairy.
Allergic reactions to dairy can be varied. They can be as mild as itching and hives, or more severe, including the following:
- Difficulty breathing;
- Wheezing; and
- Loss of consciousness.
In very severe cases, individuals can suffer from anaphylaxis after consuming dairy or another allergen. Anaphylaxis can be fatal if the patient does not receive prompt medical attention. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include a skin rash, nausea, vomiting, breathing difficulties, and shock.
Consumers’ Rights Regarding Food Labeling
You have the right to know what is in your food. There have been many ballot measures in recent years to require food manufacturers to add additional labels to their products, showing whether the products contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Many other nations, including Japan, Brazil, and Russia, require that foods containing GMOs be labeled as such.
If you suffer from an allergic reaction as the result of an unlabeled allergen in your food, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages from the food’s manufacturer. You may also be able to recover compensation for physical reactions or emotional distress caused by consuming foods with undeclared components that violate your non-medical dietary restrictions, such as animal products in food meant to be vegan or vegetarian, pork products in food certified to be halal, or non-kosher elements in foods certified to be kosher.
Work with an Experienced Rolling Meadows Food Poisoning Attorney
If you have suffered from an allergic reaction because of an undeclared allergen in a packaged food product, consider seeking compensation for your damages through a food poisoning claim. Contact our team of experienced food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography)